Ph.D. in Interpretation


Dr. Melanie Metzger and Dr. Danielle Hunt, Program Coordinators
Hall Memorial Building, Rooms E1401D and 1421

The Department of Interpretation and Translation offers a Ph.D. degree in interpretation, with a focus on American Sign Language-English interpretation. This program is available for experienced interpreters who meet the University's Graduate School and Department of Interpretation and Translation admission requirements. The program is designed to prepare future interpreter educators and researchers, who will provide exemplary leadership in the interpreting field. Students may specialize in one of two theoretical and applied areas: interpreting research or interpretation pedagogy. Both areas have a strong emphasis on research. Successful completion and graduation from the MAI or MA-IR program at Gallaudet is encouraged. The program consists of two years and a half years of coursework. Students advance to doctoral candidacy through an examination after one year of coursework, and take a comprehensive examination after 37 credits. Students complete a data-based research project and write a qualifying paper, and then progress to writing a dissertation proposal. After defending the proposal, students undertake a dissertation study and receive the Ph.D. after completion of a dissertation. 

Admissions Procedures

Applicants for the Ph.D. in Interpretation must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Courses' and 'Requirements' tab. 

First Date for Consideration of Application: January 15
Last Date for Completed Application: March 15th or until all possible slots are filled. Students are accepted on a rolling basis.

Program Specific Requirements

  • MA in interpretation, translation or related field
  • GRE or MAT
  • TOEFL scores for international students
  • A 15-20 page academic writing sample, or a 15-20 page essay, including references and citations (APA style) on the following: Please describe and assess three peer-reviewed articles or books in the field of Interpretation Studies that have shaped your thinking about the interpreting process and/or the role of the interpreter.
  • Evidence of professional certification as interpreter
  • Minimum 3 years interpreting experience (five years strongly encouraged)
  • ASLPI score of 4 for ASL users and an ASLPI score of 3 or the passing of a Department Screening for international students

Program of Study

The doctoral curriculum consists of a total of 50-51 credits of coursework plus dissertation research. Students may specialize in one of two theoretical and applied areas: interpreting research or interpretation pedagogy or do a combined program.

All students must complete the following courses: INT 810 Interpreting Studies: Linguistic and Translation Dimensions, INT 812 Research Internship, INT 813 Research Internship, INT 821 Interpreting Pedagogy I, INT 832 Research Internship, INT 845 Guided Research Project, and INT 833 Research Internship.

Students specializing in the pedagogy track also are required to take the following courses: INT 831 Interpreting Pedagogy II, INT 841 Doctoral Teaching Internship I, and INT 842 Doctoral Teaching Internship II (INT 831 and INT 841 may require residency on campus).

Students specializing in the research track also are required to take the following courses: INT 820 Interpreting Studies: Socio-cultural Dimensions, and INT 830 Interpreting Studies: Cognitive & Psychological Dimensions.

Students taking a combination track are also required to take the following courses: INT 820 Interpreting: Socio-cultural Dimensions, INT 830 Interpreting Studies: Cognitive Psychological Dimensions; and INT 842 Doctoral Teaching Internship II.

Research Internship

For the research internship, students will work on all aspects of the research cycle with data-based interpreting research project run by an experienced scholar or group of scholars. Students will also devote time to discussion of the internship with the instructor related to their research experiences, focusing both on the process and product of their work, in either independent meetings or a regularly scheduled seminar with other interns.

Teaching Internship

The teaching internship site will be in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University; preparation for the teaching internship occurs in the two preceding courses in which students examine the Gallaudet curricula at the Undergraduate and Graduate levels (our department is the only institution to offer both levels of interpreter education), compare and contrast it with other curriculums, and observe and assist in teaching with department faculty in the BA and perhaps the MA courses. This prepares the student to teach independently within the department for their internship.

Candidacy Examination

After the first two semesters of coursework for full-time students, or 20 credit hours for part-time students, students must successfully complete a written examination designed to evaluate a student's understanding, knowledge, and application of the approaches that underlie interpretation studies, and pedagogical approaches. This examination will be in written English and requires a written response, or a translation of a signed response.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examinations serve to assess a doctoral student's knowledge and understanding of Interpreting Studies (IS) is at a sufficiently high level to begin dissertation research. Upon completion of 37 credit hours, students must successfully present a demonstration in ASL of their theoretical and methodological knowledge of IS and their grasp of the fundamental studies and works in IS. Students in the pedagogy and combined track will also create a presentation on pedagogy including curriculum and course development, evidence-based teaching practices, assessment practices, and the instruction of specific interpreting skills.

Qualifying Paper

Students are required to conduct a substantial data-based research project related to interpretation or translation, which results in a written qualifying paper. The process will be guided by a faculty advisor and will include conducting a review of relevant literature, writing a proposal (including IRB approval and/or small grants applications), collecting data, coding and analyzing data and creating drafts, which culminate in the completion of the final paper ready for submission to a journal.

Dissertation Proposal and Defense

Students will prepare a proposal which includes an introduction to the study and the research question(s), a preliminary review of the relevant literature, a detailed research plan including a description of the methodology and plan for analysis, a working bibliography, an outline of the dissertation, and a timeline. Once the dissertation advisor deems the proposal ready for review by the committee, the candidate distributes copies to the committee members. When the proposal is ready for a defense, the chair of the dissertation committee will schedule a formal defense, and will notify both the Department Chair and the PhD Coordinator.

Dissertation and Defense

The dissertation is a professional product that not only represents the student's level of achievement, but also the scholarship generated by the program, the department, and Gallaudet University. The dissertation chair and committee members work to ensure the project demonstrates original research that contributes to new knowledge and/or a reinterpretation of existing knowledge to the area of investigation. Students work closely with their chair, and occasionally with their committee members, throughout the proposal, research, and writing process.